Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oregon's Tourism Industry

Oregon's tourism industry is hard to define and measure (there is no official industry classification), however it may account for a significant portion of the leisure and hospitality industry. In fact, more than 50% of the tourism industry's employment is most likely in accommodation and food services - at places like hotels and restaurants. A new article in Oregon Labor Trends, written by our very own Brooke Jackson-Winegardner, details recent trends in tourism.

She found that tourism activities (leisure and hospitality) tend to be concentrated along Oregon's coast, while inland counties in the Willamette Valley tend to have lower concentrations of employment in the industry.

Due to the predominance of service workers in the industry - chefs, waiters and waitresses, and dishwashers, for example - the industry also has below-average wages. Compared to workers in other industries, these employees are more likely to enjoy flexible work schedules and free or subsidized meals as job perks, but are much less likely to receive paid time off or retirement plan contributions from their employer.

The industry was forecast to grow nearly 14% between 2006 and 2016; however, the current recession may throw the brakes on that growth rate. Employment in leisure and hospitality has declined 4.3% statewide over the past year. Employment projections for the 2008-2018 period wil be released later this year.

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